Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Cousin Liz" ahead of her time

My parents used to control the tv dial. Remember those days? The days when TV's had dials and Parents, not children, decided on what was watched as a 'gasp' family?

One of the shows we had to endure was All In the Family. We had a love hate relationship with it. On the one hand we LOVED Edith. The sweet, innocent "dingbat" as Archie called her was the best. Archie however, sort of epitomized my dad who laughed a little too loudly every time Arch said a racial epitath, which was all the time.

As an adult I've been surprised at how much "I" now enjoy watching All In the Family. I'm sure some of it is childhood nostalgia, but that was one smart show. As kids we didn't fully understand how the show demonstrated Archie's ignorance and the plot lines were truly both timely and WAY ahead of their time.

AITF dealt with a handful of gay storylines. Of course they were produced in the early to mid 70s when top stories on the news included Anita Bryant and Harvey Milks saga so it stands to reason 'gay' was a hot, timely topic.

Yesterday I watched AITF and it was the "Cousin Liz" episode.

Edith's school teacher cousin dies, and she and Archie attend the funeral and wake. The wake is held at Cousin Liz's apartment which she shared for over 25 years with her 'roommate' Veronica. When Veronica overhears Archie planning to take a special silver tea set which belonged to Edith's family, the Cousnins relationship is explained very poignantly to an at first confused Edith who ultimately champions the couple.

Veronica:  "Your cousin liz and I were .. we were extremely fond of each other."
Edith:  "Oh, I know. We was, too."
Veronica:  ".. you see Edith .. we... we loved each other."
Edith:  "I know. We loved each other, too. I can remember when we was kids in school  we was like sisters."
Veronica:  "No, this wasn't like that... We loved each other in a different way."
Edith:  "What way?"
Veronica:  "More like a marriage."

Edith:  "A marriage? Oh no, it couldn't be."

long pause....


All In the Family was truly ahead of it's time.


Sean said...

What amazes me when I watch AITF is the reaction it would have on TV today. You couldn't, it would be too controversial. Also, I think they always came down on the correct side of the issue, even if they weren't realized.

BTW - it's good to have you back posting regularly.

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A.C. said...

Just finished watching the episode as well. AITF was truly ahead of its time. What's sad is that a show like that could never make it on network TV. Cable, perhaps. But certainly not on CBS, for example.

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